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A post last week from Geraldine Hunt of SpamTitan Technologies asks if anyone noticed the change in individual Facebook email addresses. She did a quick poll of 50 Facebook users (with technology backgrounds) that regularly use the social network and found that 48 of the 50 people polled hadn’t noticed.

“Facebook has changed everyone’s email address to user profile [email protected],” Hunt writes. “The email address you originally listed is now hidden in Facebook's database and you’ve been assigned an @Facebook.com address which is now is visible for your Facebook ‘friends’ to see.”

Why is this significant to Hunt? Because she believes the possibility of spam and phishing attacks stemming from these email addresses is “huge.” “Once a spammer knows or correctly guesses a  person’s Facebook profile name they can easily send email from outside of Facebook to this new address. A spammers paradise is born!”

Facebook's plan says Hunt is to have users never leave Facebook and the added email addresses is meant to keep users logged onto the site. To Facebook marketing it is no doubt a one-stop messaging convenience.

Hunt does think Facebook is aware of the risks of these new email addresses, but doesn’t believe the company wants to broadcast the possible threat to its customers. “Rather than being clearly visible to users on their home page [the] message has been buried deep within the security notes of Facebook,” she observes. The Facebook message says that an email account ([email protected]) to report phishing attempts has been set up so users can forward suspicious emails to Facebook.

The threat has the potential to go beyond the users, as many employees use company time and networks to go to social media sites.

“With different research studies showing that between 30–40 percent of SMB malware threats originate from social media sites, it is imperative that small business owners take a close look at their IT and social media strategies, and establish policies now so that they harness the best of social media without downside—or downtime,” commented Ronan Kavanagh, CEO of SpamTitan earlier this year.

As Messaging News has stated before, social media strategies and policies are important to help educate employees, and manage social media use on business networks.

Cloud Reduces Costs

The “cloud” has been in the news for several years now, making it seem to be a recent development. It isn't, but the packaging and marketing of outsourced services has and now the cloud has reached mass acceptance. This summer Rackspace Hosting commissioned a survey that found nine in 10 (or 91 percent) of IT decision makers have a positive opinion of cloud computing. There is also consensus around the benefits cloud computing can bring to the small- to medium-sized business.

Siamak Farah, CEO of InfoStreet recently put together tips to show SMBs how to cut costs using the cloud:

The Cloud gives your small business access to otherwise hard-to-reach or hard-to-afford IT expertise. You don’t have to pay for full-time IT staff that will manage your servers, software, and hardware. The Cloud relieves you from installing, maintaining, and upgrading software and hardware and manages everything for you.

Eliminate the cost associated with replacing PCs every two to three years. Since the computing is done in the Cloud, any old computer will do. Use the computer till it runs into the ground, then just simply get up, go to the next computer, log in, and continue exactly where you left off in two minutes flat.

Another benefit comes to you with the advent of the new Cloud app markets, giving you comparison shopping right at your fingertips. Almost all apps offer free trials and pay-as-you-go pricing so you can sign up for new apps for as long as necessary, without any long-term commitments. Additionally, for every highly sophisticated (perhaps too sophisticated) app, there are simpler options at much lower costs for those businesses that only need a basic solution.

Lastly, every entrepreneur can tell you that often, unnecessary costs come from things that they’ve purchased, but never used. The Cloud scales with you. If you are seasonal—or grow overnight—you won’t have to spend a dime on additional hardware or long-term software agreements, since Cloud apps are typically charged on a monthly and per-user basis.

The classic concerns of using the cloud (Who owns the data? How secure is the data? Can I control the data? Am I locked-in to a single vendor?) have been addressed by a number of cloud providers. For instance, Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier acknowledges, “We believe it is important that companies be empowered with choice, an open cloud and the high level of technical support they need to concentrate on their core business. A chief benefit for IT decision makers using open-source technology is portability of workloads across vendors and the elimination of vendor lock-in.”

With the maturity of the cloud solution, the benefits of reduced infrastructure costs, significantly reduced IT costs and time, pay-as-you-go services, and greater flexibility are, for many SMBs, finally outweighing cloud concerns.

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